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The Azrieli Foundation

By (author): Anita Ekstein
9781988065533 Paperback, Trade English HISTORY / Holocaust Jul 30, 2019
$14.95 CAD
Forthcoming 6 x 9 in 176 pages Azrieli Foundation
When the Nazis invade eastern Poland in 1941, young Anita Ekstein discovers that being Jewish is dangerous, and her days are suddenly filled with fear. Her parents no longer have time to dote on her and instead are occupied with trying to save her life. In 1942, when Anita is only eight years old, her mother is taken from the Skole ghetto by the Nazis. Devastated, her father immediately enlists the help of a Catholic man, Josef Matusiewicz, who courageously smuggles Anita out of the ghetto and gives her shelter. Anita must do whatever it takes to survive ? be quiet, stay in the house ? and become a Catholic. When her hiding place is discovered, Anita narrowly escapes and is concealed in a cramped, dusty wardrobe for weeks on end. Next taken in by a priest and his abusive and antisemitic housekeeper, Anita has only her prayers and her faith to give her hope. As an orphan after the war, Anita struggles with her identity. She is afraid of being Jewish and clings to her new faith, but ultimately, she embraces her father?s last words to Always Remember Who You Are.

Anita Helfgott Ekstein was born July 18, 1934, in Lwów, Poland, and was raised in the small town of Synowódzko Wy?ne (present-day Verkhneye Sinevidnoye, Ukraine). The only known survivor of her community, Anita reunited with her Aunt Sala after the war, and together they immigrated to Paris in 1946 and to Toronto in 1948. Anita married Frank Ekstein on June 5, 1955, and then raised three children. In 1985, she graduated alongside one of her sons from York University with a bachelor of arts in psychology. Anita is a volunteer with the Circle of Care centre for seniors and is involved with a study group of the National Council of Jewish Women of Canada. A Holocaust educator since 1989, Anita founded a group for child survivors and hidden children in Toronto, has chaired the March of the Living three times and has been a survivor participant eighteen times. Anita continues to be a prominent speaker with the Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre of Toronto and has been the recipient of a number of awards and tributes. Anita was instrumental in designating her rescuers, the Matusiewicz family, with Yad Vashem?s title of Righteous Among the Nations.


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